The new content marketing funnel
By Aly Richards, CEO, Odyssiant
Professor Hugh Wilson at Cranfield University kindly asked me to speak at his quarterly Cranfield Customer Management Forum (CCMF) last week. The forum is a syndicate of leading companies such as British Gas, BP, HSBC, London Symphony Orchestra, Mercedes Benz, Royal Bank of Scotland and SAS who work together to drive forward best practice in marketing. As usual, there were lots interesting ideas being shared and lots of lively conversation. In particular, Dr Emma Macdonald ran a very interesting exercise on repertory grid technique which I will definitely be using in the future.
I presented examples of work that we are currently doing on building content strategies. I got some very interesting feedback from the audience with regards to lead scoring and the funnel mechanisms that are currently in use by the group. To set the scene, many companies are now doing content marketing and are augmenting their campaigning approaches with content. What is more prevalent in B2B than B2C organisations, though, is the measurement of these campaigns in a funnel construct such as this.
The TOFU, MOFU and BOFU layers are Top, Middle and Bottom of funnel. You can see from this diagram that content is then associated with each of these layers. Each item of content is given a lead score which is applied to the person reading/consuming it to determine their progress. This gives the marketer a view of how many prospects they have in their funnel and what stage they are at. All good so far. The challenge with this, and CCMF group chimed in with their concerns on this, is that the lead scores are manually applied to each item meaning that a marketer can up-weight leads artificially in order to get more leads to the bottom of the funnel. Clearly, this potentially implies lower quality unqualified leads are being passed to sales. There are reports of this actually being the case and that this is obviously damaging the already difficult relationship between marketing and sales.
The approach that we take with Odyssiant is that we look at the audiences’ entire journey and content consumption to determine how far they have progressed on their buying journey. Each journey is structured so that we know what they are considering and at what point in their decision process they are. This creates a different view of the funnel that cannot be artificially manipulated to deliver more leads to sales. On top of this, the content journey continues through sales and on to their life as a customer so that the individual receives a consistent experience throughout the process. The Odyssiant funnel therefore looks like this.
The CCMF group agreed that this provides a much more accurate view of the marketing and sales funnel but also allows much clearer attribution of sales to the content that contributed.
By creating and managing content that is structured like this, it is also possible to more clearly identify content that is not working and may need changing.